Another Republican lawmaker says the House Select Committee on Benghazi is meant to go after former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Rep. Richard Hanna, R-New York, said Wednesday on New York’s’ WIBX 950, “Sometimes the biggest sin you can commit in D.C. is to tell the truth.”
“This may not be politically correct, but I think that there was a big part of this investigation that was designed to go after people and an individual, Hillary Clinton,” said Hanna, who is not a member of the committee. “After what Kevin McCarthy said, it’s difficult to accept at least a part of it was not. I think that’s the way Washington works. But you’d like to expect more from a committee that’s spent millions of dollars and tons of time.”
Clinton is scheduled to testify before the panel on October 22.
At the first Democratic debate on Tuesday night, Clinton slammed Republicans, telling the audience that the committee is “basically an arm of the Republican National Committee.”
“It is a partisan vehicle, as admitted by the House Republican majority leader, Mr. McCarthy, to drive down my poll numbers. Big surprise. And that’s what they have attempted to do,” Clinton said, adding later, “But I’ll be there. I’ll answer their questions.”
Brian Fallon, the Clinton campaign’s press secretary, said Wednesday that Hanna’s comment show that “House Republicans aren’t even shy anymore about admitting that the Benghazi Committee is a partisan farce.”
“Hillary Clinton will still attend next week’s hearing,” Fallon said, “but at this point, (Chairman) Trey Gowdy’s inquiry has zero credibility left.”
While McCarthy walked back his comments, Democrats quickly seized on his gaffe and it ultimately contributed to the derailing of McCarthy’s brief speaker bid.
“Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right?” McCarthy had said. “But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened had we not fought.”
The comments also provided Clinton, her campaign aides and supporters with a tailor-made response to the political questions Clinton will face when she testifies.
It’s not the first time Hanna has slammed what he perceives as Republican efforts to politicize certain issues. Hanna, who supports abortion rights, has also knocked conservative lawmakers’ efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, calling votes to do so “political theater.”
But at least one Republican lawmaker was quick to dismiss Hanna’s comments.
“That’s his opinion. I don’t share that opinion,” said Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, on CNN’s “New Day.”
Johnson said he believes Clinton’s use of a private email server to conduct official business as secretary of state raise “very serious national security implications” and said “the concern is what national security secrets might be in the hands of our enemies.”
CNN’s Jeremy Diamond contributed to this report.